- Conditional security teaching always ends up degenerating into a message of salvation by works. If we teach that we must live a life of faithfulness as one of God's conditions for everlasting life, we are preaching salvation by good works, and the Lord condemns that (Galatians 1:6-8). Faithfulness is God's will, but faithfulness is different from faith. Taking up one's cross daily is not the Gospel. These are implications and applications of the Gospel, but not the Gospel itself (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). One brother years ago insisted to me that one must keep the commandments of Christ in the seven letters of Revelation, in order not to go to Hell. He was preaching a salvation by good works. This is Phariseeism, which the early Church rejected (Acts 15:11).
- Conditional security ignores or brushes overthe eternal-security verses. Just one passage, for example: "37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day." John 6:37-39. All of those whom the Father gives to the Son come to the Son and believe. None of those who come to the Son will be lost. All of those who come to the Son will be raised up on the last day. This is a 1:1:1 ratio. The fact that "believes" is in the present tense does not prove continuous, durative, daily believing. We know this because "gives" is also in the present tense (v.37), but God is not continuously, daily giving us to Christ. Hebrews 8:12 says that God remembers our sins against us no more. Conditional security teachers ignore or mishandle passages like this.
- The conditional security doctrine consistently misinterprets key words in key passages. For example, a branch that grows no fruit and is taken away (John 15:2) is not a saved branch, since workless faith is a false, non-saving faith (James 2:17). "Fire" does not refer to Hell everywhere it appears in the Bible. It's a general figure of speech for divine punishment (Hebrews 10:26-27). We need to look at the immediate context of a passage to tell what sort of fire it is. "Life" in every verse does not always mean everlasting life. God can take life as a punishment for disobedience (ex. 1st Cor. 11:30), without it meaning the person went to Hell.
- It sometimes gets tied to “sinner’s prayer” ceremonialism. To say that we have to pray a sinner's prayer is also salvation by works. My son was once driven out of a church because he opposed the idea of the necessity of the sinner's prayer. This is absolutely unbiblical. We are saved by faith alone (John 3:16), even though that faith will eventually be verbalized in some way. Some people pray a sinner's prayer at the point of conversion, and others don't. My wife never prayed the sinner's prayer, but she became a true Christian because she believed the Good News. A foolish person once told my son that his mother must have prayed the sinner's prayer at some time, since one cannot be saved without the sinner's prayer. Utterly unbiblical! In such churches, a distorted form of once-saved-always-saved is often tied to this sort of ceremonialism.
- Holiness is amputated from justification in some churches. The EFCA statement of faith says: "We believe that God's justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose" (section 8). That is what I believe also. Churches that preach that no heart-change for holiness occurs as a result of justification -- that it's possible to be justified but still be just as evil-minded as you ever were before -- well, that is a terrible falsehood. Some churches that preach eternal security combine it with this anti-holiness, antinomian, false-grace message, and as a result they bring contempt upon the Biblical message of eternal security.
- Some preachers deny that people should examine themselves, to be sure they are really in the faith. There are churches that need to grapple with the fact that there are many bad fish mixed in their church net with the good fish (Matt. 13:47-48). Telling people they should just assume they are saved, and never examine the reality of their own faith, just because they prayed an evangelistic prayer at a meeting, is gross spiritual malpractice. A person who knowingly and unrepentantly continues in sin is not a child of God (1st John 3:10). Eternal security sometimes gets linked with this sort of false-grace lawlessness, and as a result the blessed truth of eternal security becomes tainted.
The Bible very clearly teaches eternal security. But it shouldn't be rejected because of guilt-by-association with other errors.